The Burden of Doing Good

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A couple weeks ago, I loaded up the YouVersion Bible app at church to follow along with the sermon at church. On the first screen when the app loads is a daily Bible verse. On this particular day, was the following verse:

See that no one repays anyone evil for evil, but always seek to do good to one another and to everyone. (1 Thessalonians 5:15 ESV)

I was struck by it. Not because it is a familiar passage that touches my heart in some mystical way every time I read it, but because of how strong and hard the command is. It is more than a simple, “be nice to people” remark. Much more. It is a burdensome command and yet one that is vital if we are to have a living Christian faith. Continue reading

Book Review: The Coming Interspiritual Age by Kurt Johnson and David Robert Ord

ImageI’ve read quite a few books on New Age ideas and comparative religion, but this is probably one of the most important books on the topic to hit the shelves in a long time. But not for the reasons you may think. Continue reading

Book Review: Evolution’s Purpose by Steve McIntosh

ImageI love reading books dealing with science, philosophy, theology, and religion. And when the opportunity arose to review a book looking at evolution from a philosophical perspective, I was more than excited. And Steve McIntosh’s Evolution’s Purpose did not disappoint.

The book starts off kind of slow, as he gives you a brief overview of Integral Philosophy and a sort of history of worldviews. Integral theory, as it is also called, is an emerging area of discussion that seeks to bring together the best aspects of pre-modern, modern, and postmodern worldviews into an all-encompassing view of the world, its purpose, and what it means and where it is headed. Continue reading

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Book Review: Holy Terror by Mel White

ImageThere are a lot of topics that stir up a lot of controversy, but none so much in this moment than homosexuality. And paying a pivotal role in the discussion of this touchy subject is, or should be, Mel White’s 2006 book Holy Terror: Lies the Christian Right Tells Us to Deny Gay Equality.

In this well-documented treatise, White goes into painstaking detail about the work being done by some prominent conservative Christian leaders to curtail the constitutional rights of the GLBT community. And as the ghostwriter at one time for the likes of Jerry Falwell and Billy Graham, he is privy to insider information that most of us would have no knowledge of. We can be greatly indebted to him for bringing some of these things to light, even if we come away in disagreement with his stance and lifestyle. Continue reading

Book review: What We Talk About When We Talk about God by Rob Bell

ImageRob Bell is not an author to shy away from controversial subjects, as his last book clearly shows. And in this regard, his new book is no different. What We Talk About when We Talk About God is Rob Bell’s latest attempt to re-articulate the tenants of the Christian faith for a generation of believers (and non-believers) who may have been turned off to a more traditional approach to the faith. In his characteristic manner involving seemingly disconnected stories and ideas, he takes the reader on a journey through what he believes about God.

But, the book is not about God, or even about how we are supposed to talk about Him, so to speak. It is more about what we are saying with the words we use to talk about God. Yes, he is defending his vision of God, but he is more concerned with the reader’s connection to this God.  Continue reading

Book Review: The Shack Revisited by C. Baxter Kruger

ImageA few years back, a little book took the Christian (and non-Christian) world by storm. It was called The Shack by Wm. Paul Young. It recounts the story of a man who is invited by God Himself to visit Him in the place where his young daughter was brutally murdered.

God reveals Himself in some pretty unconventional ways, but, in the end, the man turns to God for salvation from his Great Sadness and finds redemption.

The book set off a fury of responses. Some positive, many negative. The biggest issue for most was the portrayal of God in feminine form. “Papa” (God the Father) is a large black woman and the Holy Spirit is also female.

When  started reading The Shack Revisited, I was expecting some sort of unpacking of these ideas. A Good answer/critique as to why. Simply put, there was one brief mention of these things in passing, and no more. That was my biggest disappointment with the book, actually. But it redeemed itself in what it did address. Continue reading

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Even At Chic-Fil-A, Dead Works Are Still Dead

ImageUnless you have been living in a cave for the past couple of weeks, you are well aware of the controversy that Chic-fil-A has been generating in response to their owner’s comments in support of traditional marriage and Christian family values. Mike Huckabee even created an event in the fast food chain’s honor, asking supporters to flock to their local venues and literally “eat mor chikn.”  Continue reading

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James 1:19-27: Listening and Doing

Last time, we talked about how everyone is on an equal footing before God, but not in a good way. Every human being is sinful and does not seek God as he or she ought. We also saw that, to Paul, the Law means little if it is used as a measure of one’s holiness because…well…all the Law does is make it clear that humanity is messed up.

That said, obedience is important. James makes that very clear. And so it is to James that we turn now. Continue reading

Romans 3:9-20: No One Is Righteous

Here Paul continues his discussion of God’s faithfulness to those who belong to Him by pointing out, in no uncertain terms, that everyone is on equal footing before Him. But not in the manner in which his listeners would expect. He begins by asking a simple question:

What then? Are we Jews any better off? (Romans 3:9a ESV) Continue reading

A New Year Begins

Happy New Year!Happy New Year!

2011 is over and 2012 has begun. And with the beginning of a new year comes the beginning of a new focus for the blog. By a new focus, I mean that I am going to be putting a stronger focus on getting things done here at The Master’s Way blog. Continue reading

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